Gemma Bovery


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Gemma Bovery
"The final act has multiple twists but by that time interest has waned"

Art and life. Where is the connection? Posey Simmonds ran a cartoon strip in a posh paper about an English girl, called Gemma, who moves to Normandy with Charlie Bovery, her husband. He's a furniture restorer who travels a bit and is older than her.

Communication? Body language. Gemma's body would be X rated if allowed loose into the community. Martin Joubert (Fabrice Luchini), a retired academic-turned-baker, picks up on this and starts to believe that the Boverys (Gemma Arterton, Jason Flemyng), quintessential roast beef and incapable of learning the lingo, are modern equivalents of Flaubert's tragic characters.

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One of the problems the film has is that Martin, who acts as narrator, is such a miserable old git he lowers the mood to an unacceptable level of gloom. He behaves like a stalker, spying on Gemma and is au fait with her infidelity once the formalities have been brushed aside. The object of her passion is Herve de Bressigny (Niels Schneider), a ridiculously beautiful boy from the manor house down the road.

Martin knows how the story evolves. He's a Flaubert aficionado and sees no harm in pushing the plot forward to imitate the fiction which, as everyone knows, ends badly. What does he think he is doing? He's infatuated with Madame B and all he can do is give her presents, as if pastry will be the key to her heart.

The final act has multiple twists but by that time interest has waned. Gemma in love is a golden blossom, but where are the roots? Charlie is weathered. He cannot do much as a workaholic cuckold but leap from rage to rage like a mountain goat on steroids.

There are dogs, Carrington and Gus. They have it easy. No lines to learn. Take a bow; lose the wow. Are their tails awag?

Probably not. There isn't enough meat on the bone.

Reviewed on: 20 Aug 2015
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Gemma Bovery packshot
An English couple move to Normandy and because of their name are drawn into Flaubert's web as if doomed to repeat the follies of Madame Bovery
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Director: Anne Fontaine

Writer: Pascal Bonitzer, Anne Fontaine, based on the graphic novel by Posy Simmonds

Starring: Gemma Arterton, Jason Flemyng, Fabrice Luchini, Isabelle Candelier, Niels Schneider, Mel Raido, Elsa Zylberstein, Pip Torrens, Kacey Mottet Klein, Edith Scob, Philippe Uchan, Pascale Arbillot, Marie-Bénédicte Roy, Christian Sinniger, Pierre Alloggia

Year: 2014

Runtime: 99 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: France, UK


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